Exit 57 was a sketch comedy show that aired on Comedy Central from 1995-1996. It starred Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert, Jodi Lennon, and Mitch Rouse—all of which were Second City alum.
The opening of Exit 57 shows the cast stranded on the side of the road next to a broken down vehicle. They are picked up by a stranger passing by, who changes the radio station just as a news report of a serial killer begins. The driver begins taking Polaroids of his new passengers, who grow more and more uncomfortable. Suspicious, the cast demands to be let out of the car. At the end of the opening, the car is seen pulling off the highway at Exit 57—implied to be the fictional suburban town of Quad Cities.
I was a big fan of the show despite the fact that there are only 12 episodes. I think all twelve were pretty good. If you like sketch comedy (like Saturday Night Live, Kids in the Hall, SCTV, or MadTV), this show would have been right up your alley. It was nominated for 5 CableACE awards, too.
Here are just a few of my favorite moments from the show, along with the episodes they came from.
- The first episode’s skit where Paul sings, My Wife Dumped Me for a Guy Named Jesus” after he is broken up with by his religious girlfriend Rita (played by Amy Sedaris) for the Lord Jesus. Every time I have to listen to super-Jesus fanatics, I think of this song. I can’t help myself.
- Episode 5. I love the little stories about the different couples, especially the struggling Paul and Amy. I was also super excited to hear the line Stephen says—“I’m not pushing you away, I’m pulling me toward myself.” as a line delivered by Paul in Strangers With Candy. I also love the wild west skit where Amy has to read “The Three Bears” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.”
- Episode 7. The skit with the terrible surgeons is really funny. They lose a patient who was also a doctor at the hospital where they work. I also love Stephen’s skit where he finds a sack full of money but can’t buy a fish from a stream or a song from a bird.
- Episode 8 has a skit where Paul plays an obnoxious guy trying to start a fight with a guy playing pool while his girlfriend watches. It is hilarious.
- One of my favorite skits of the entire series is in episode 10. The one where Stephen and Paul do their Calvin-Kleineque surrealist poetry.
Episodes of the show are very hard to find. I don’t think they are out on DVD so I don’t know if my list will be of much help other than to reminisce about this underappreciated show. If you are really looking for an Exit 57 fix, check out YouTube. That’s where I go.